MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Investigators say someone set up an illegal pit bull breeding operation in an abandoned house in the 3700 block of W. Glendale Ave.
"These dogs were in very, very sad shape," said John McDowell of MADACC, the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission.
Twelve dogs were discovered inside the vacant home on Thursday, June 27th. Some dogs were in cages, or tied up, while others ran loose. The stench inside was so bad, masks were used when entering the home.
The operation was exposed when one of the dogs escaped outside and started wandering around the neighborhood. An animal control officer found the dog's puppies inside the home the next day.
"Some mothers will thin out a little when feeding a large litter, but this dog was more than that -- this dog was falling down starved," said McDowell.
Authorities say it will be difficult to trace whoever is responsible for the neglected animals due to the operation being set up in a vacant house.
"We are seeing more animals inside abandoned homes and abandoned properties," said McDowell. "This seemed to be some sort of breeding operation."
Authorities aren't able to tell if the dogs were meant to be sold for a quick buck, or for fighting, but they are warning anyone living near a vacant property to be aware.
"Certainly if they hear barking or any animal noises they should contact the City of Milwaukee, the department of the neighborhood, the police department, or us," said McDowell.
The rescued dogs will be put up for adoption. Despite the horrible living conditions they were found in, those caring for them say all the dogs are social and nice.